Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crimes against humanity!

Back to tutoring at Melbourne Uni this week. Also, I appear to be spending much of my writing time on Face Book, which doesn't mean that I'm making short posts, in fact many of my conversations with others have been quite extensive, particularly the one that involved (instigated by me) asking whether Jan Saudeck's photo Black sheep and white Crow should have been removed from the Ballarat International Photo Biennale. Of course extremely interesting viewpoints were expressed and thankfully no one who entered the conversation  got personal, as is often the case in Face Book exchanges. I managed during the week to complete the transcript of the interview I undertook with Andrew Garton in 1996 and I sent it to him to look over. I'm hoping that I can post the interview here sometime in the next few weeks. On a lighter note but no less serious, I photographed my undies in order to participate in Clinton Hayden's Bachelard's Drawer project, which will probably be on line soon. Over the past few days I began reading Geoffrey Robertson's book Crimes Against Humanity (2006), which is an account of the history of the Human Rights Movement & appears appropriate somehow since we are leading up to a week in which many people in the world will be remembering the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre - this year being its tenth anniversary. I will  probably watch the ABC televised event next Tuesday and maybe even watch some of the program they've stitched together to give an overview of that terrible day mainly because it was such a significant event and also because I'm interested in how I'll react to the images and reportage a decade on.  My initial reaction to the televised event was that the images were cinematic, I'm wondering whether I'll react to the event in a different way ten years on. But really, each day we are exposed to the horrors occurring in Lybia and, natural disasters happening on a regular basis continually remind us of our fragility in a constantly changing and volatile world. I ask myself: was it always like this and my answer is yes. I can't really remember a time when there was no war or unrest, when there was no poverty or oppression, when there was no natural disasters. So, I take it as a given.


  1. Yes a difficult week coming up for us all. Would you contribute to a public inquiry say by a Senate Committee say on the question of what should and should not be published?

  2. If I did I'd probably have to present it in public in some forum and that might suggest a few problems for me. But if it's just a matter of contributing in some written way I suppose I would consider doing so as long as I was aware of the parameters, scope and potentials involved. 'What should and should not be published' seems to me to be an unfinished sentence. Many articles, photographs and videos are published in arenas that have limited viewing, others are more widely distributed and have greater readership and greater influence. Inherent in the question is a moral issue - whenever you place a 'should' or shouldn't' you are talking about one set of values over another. You can see that the question needs to be expanded, or at least fleshed out to be more specific or targeted. For interest, I personally can't abide conspiracy theories on the Internet and believe that in the long run they are unproductive and don't add much information to the knowledge base, but I wouldn't want to take the freedom away from individuals who enjoy pursing this line of thinking. And on that note much of what is on the Internet is un-researched and therefore not useful to me because I value scholarship, but others do not think this way and I don't think that I should necessarily impose my values upon them. I am constantly frustrated by my 'culturally relative' approach to things, but am aware that it is borne out of being middle-class and educated. In some small way I suppose I've partly answered the question about publishing. Educated or not, individuals have something different to the table and since I believe in free speech I would have to say that in a broad sense I agree that most things (as long as they are regulated to protect the young, or those who may be disturbed by confronting images) should be able to be published. Of course, with more space and more general specifics I'm sure that I could argue against what I've just said. I am able to see many sides of an argument. Is there a Senate Committee or Senate inquiry into publishing and what aspect of publishing?

  3. There is likely to be some kind of inquiry into media diversity sponsored by the Green Party.